Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions

Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions are a simple easy refrigerator pickle project to add to your repertoire ~ they’re not only beautiful, they’re a workhorse when it comes to jazzing up lots of different kinds of foods!

Pickled onions make just about anything better!

You can’t make a great fish taco without pickled onions, but they are also great on sandwiches, burgers and hotdogs, salads, cheese boards…pretty much anywhere you’d use sliced onions. Pickling takes a bit of the raw bite off of onions and replaces it with a nice sweet-sour tang. And like most pickles they’re almost calorie free, so they are a great way to add interest and flavor to food if you’re watching your weight.

Pickled red onions change from purple to vivid pink

It’s a fun chemistry experiment to watch the purple onions turn bright pink the minute they hit the acidic vinegar. I love the vibrant color of these pickled red onions, they really brighten up food in more ways than one!

The method for these pickles is very simple and lends itself well to adaptation and experimentation.

I used a few extra spices like multicolored peppercorns, yellow mustard seeds, and cumin seeds, but feel free to substitute in others. And just one sliced jalapeno pepper makes the whole jar pretty hot. But you can do this without any spices at all if you want to. The classic combination of vinegar, salt and sugar also makes a wonderful simple pickle.

I love making quick pickles–you can pickle all kinds of vegetables and it’s nice to have a little collection in the fridge so you have just the right pickle for all your recipes! Here are a few more of my favorites that are easy, fast, and sure to brighten up any dish.

3.29 from 39 votes

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions are a simple easy refrigerator pickle project to add to your repertoire ~ they're not only beautiful, they're a workhorse when it comes to jazzing up lots of different kinds of foods!
Course preserves
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Yield 1 pint
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 medium red onions
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp multicolor peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • i jalapeno or Serrano pepper sliced, seeds and all


  • Peel and thinly slice the onions. I used my mandoline slicer for this as it does a nice, even job.
  • Put the vinegar, water, and all the spices in a small pan and bring up to a simmer. Take off the heat, and add the onions and hot pepper. Mix well.
  • Place the onions in a mason jar and pour the liquid over them. Make sure the liquid covers the onions. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.
  • Will keep in the refrigerator for a month.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Don’t forget to pin these Pickled Red Onions!

Pickled red onions pin


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2021 at 10:14 am

    5 stars
    My family loves these onions, good on everything. I have shared this simple recipe many times.

  • Reply
    Janice Nipper
    May 24, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    5 stars
    I couldn’t wait to make these but couldn’t find Cumin seeds in my small town, but Amazon had just what I needed.
    I did find that it made more than the one jar. Probably because my husband bought LARGE red onions. I just made another batch of the liquid.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Try them on avocado toast – yum!

    • Reply
      August 9, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Interesting idea 🙂

  • Reply
    March 25, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    I will have to say these onions got mixed reviews at my house. My partner tried a bite, made a face and said “they taste like perfume!” I however, did like them. At first they struck me as pretty acidic, but I enjoyed them on top of my hot dog instead of pickle relish. It is not something I could eat by the bowl full, but I thought they were great on the hot dog. One or two slices would be a nice little “pick me up”, so I am happy. But alas, I must try other recipes to see if I can’t please my better half too.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I’m so obsessed with pickled onions. The flavor is so great! It cuts the super spicy bite out of raw onions and makes them tender and incredibly flavorful! I love that you added heat to the pickle as well with the peppers. Thanks so much for sharing! Can’t wait to try making these at home!

    • Reply
      October 27, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I love to add a little bit of heat whenever I can…enjoy Billy!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Can you use pickling spice instead of the spices listed?

    • Reply
      June 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Yes, go for it!

  • Reply
    September 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    A quick question though… can these actually be canned? (boiled 10 minutes?!)


    • Reply
      September 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      I’m not sure but I think these can be canned, Steph. I would consult a canning site or book first, though, to be sure.

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